The joys of pop music

DrummerBoy95

Senior Member
Have you ever felt you had more fun drumming along to some more mainstream or electronic music? Anyways, here's what happened to me yesterday:

On Friday, I got a call from a friend from school who told me that she and her friends decided at the last minute to sign up to play at our school fair. She'd asked me if it was possible that I learn a few songs so as to drum along with the rest of the band she and her friends had set up. I said okay, but that was a few months ago. I had no idea she still had that in mind, and she caught me by surprise.
Anyways, the thing is I was lucky I actually knew the songs. So yesterday morning, I got my father to help me move my kit to school. The stage was set up in open air, and it surprised me because I thought it was going to be more of a talent show-ish sort of thing. So I set up my kit, and waited for the rest of the band. Everyone eventually arrived, and we sound checked.
I actually accepted to drum with the band because I didn't really have anything else planned (my band's guitarist went on vacation), and I'm always happy to drum live. I wasn't really expecting the show to be good, and I didn't think I'd have much fun either honestly.

I ended up rather surprised, because I hadn't really ever played with the other musicians, but we played pretty tight. I had lots of fun, surprisingly, playing along to pretty known songs, so there were a bunch of people singing along. The setlist was:
- Crazy In Love - Beyonce
- Baby Boy - "
- Pokerface - Lady Gaga
- S&M - Rihanna
- Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z
- Get Right - Jennifer Lopez
- Buttons - The Pussy Cat Dolls (I profoundly hate the song, but I have to admit it sounded (and looked) great)
That was all that we had "rehearsed", but the audience was really loving it, and they encored us. We were out of songs and the girls were tired, so the guitarist suggested we play Smooth (Santana) and we did; it was my favorite song of the evening, the guitarist was pretty amazing with the Santana-esque solos. And the guy who rapped on Crazy In Love, Empire State of Mind and Get Right decided he wanted to "sing" another one (I'm lucky I do listen to the radio sometimes) which was Got Money (Lil' Wayne); I got to admit it was pretty epic to have people sing along the lyrics and even if I didn't really do much than snare-bass drum most of the time (occasionally a groovy fill), I had a great time. A girl also stepped up and got us to play Raise your Glass and You & Your Hand by P!nk which were a little more rock & roll but the audience also knew the lyrics! I ended up reaaaally tired, it'd been a while since I'd played more than 6 songs at a gig, but I had so much fun that I just didn't get tired :)

Honestly, I think it was one of the best, if not the best concert I've played in my life. It was totally different from what I'm used to playing (prog. metal with my old band, and now more instrumental rock i.e Jethro Tull & Santana with my more recent band) I'd NEVER played rap/pop/etc live, and less still listen to it, or even really practiced it at home, but I had lots of fun, I'm actually considering trying to get the band together again and play more gigs.

It's just something I wanted to share, and I'm curious if anyone feels or has felt the same thing.

Santiago L.
 

makinao

Silver Member
Sounds like a gig I had about 5 years ago. A friend asked me and a bunch of his dinosaur buddies (all pros) to play for his junior high school (an exclusive Catholic girls school at that) daughter's fair. The setlist was all lively bubblegum tunes, a couple from the 80's, and a couple of current ones. The kids were wild, exactly what you want from an audience. And we had lots of fun. I probably wouldn't want to do it every day, but I'd gladly do it again.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
Sounds like a blast of a gig. I know one or two of those songs from the titles, but maybe I'd know some of the others if I heard them. But I'm certain I wouldn't have a clue how to play them. then again, based on what I hear on the radio, the drums would just be following a monotonous beat (except Smooth). So did you spice them up at all?
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Sounds like a gig I had about 5 years ago. A friend asked me and a bunch of his dinosaur buddies (all pros) to play for his junior high school (an exclusive Catholic girls school at that) daughter's fair. The setlist was all lively bubblegum tunes, a couple from the 80's, and a couple of current ones. The kids were wild, exactly what you want from an audience. And we had lots of fun. I probably wouldn't want to do it every day, but I'd gladly do it again.
I'd be interested in seeing that set list. :)

Curious about the "bubblegum"....I'd love it if "Yummy Yummy Yummy" by Ohio Express was included in the list.
 

DrummerBoy95

Senior Member
Sounds like a blast of a gig. I know one or two of those songs from the titles, but maybe I'd know some of the others if I heard them. But I'm certain I wouldn't have a clue how to play them. then again, based on what I hear on the radio, the drums would just be following a monotonous beat (except Smooth). So did you spice them up at all?
Yeah I was so much fun! Personally I didn't really know the songs either, except that they were basically as you said monotonous beats, and I thought it would be monotonous to play as well. The interesting part was how we got it to sound really studio-like, but at the same time have the cool parts of playing a live show.

I had to re-listen to them I took some notes about when to stop, or to mute to put emphasis on the singer, and that sort of stuff, that I took with me on stage. My kit was set up next to the "DJ", who was a guy who played loops (shakers, sirens, and in some songs the basic boom chick) and he had a keyboard as well, so I had eye contact with him and since he knew the songs really well, he had already prepared the effects and loops and they sounded identical to the original songs.

Generally speaking, I was pretty free to play what I wanted, because the basic boom chick was kept by a loop. It was tricky to get the loop to sound loud enough so the sort of Pop-ish feel was kept, but at the same time make it sound not too loud so that my drums still covered the loop, especially the snare, bass drum, hi hat and also the drum rolls I did. We did that at the sound check and we ended up pretty happy with the sound. So what I did to "spice it up" was play in the grooviest way I could. That meant really using the hihat, and ghost notes on the snare, as well as paraddidly fills and the splashes I had. Also, I was told to not hesitate on going onto my crashes and playing heavier during choruses, and not just conforming to the hihat like on the original track and it ended up working pretty good.

I think the trickiest song to play was "Buttons" by the Pussy Cat Dolls. It was hard because if you listen to the actual song, the drums sound have an arabic and oriental touch to their sound, which was hard to mimic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWesQ-GHVoE

I played it with the bell of my crashes, splashes, ride and hihat. The arabic melody was played by the DJ, and the claps as well. We left Snoop Dogg's part out, it was only the girls singing. I played the other percussions you hear on the track with bongos, and my djembe I have from africa. But yeah, it was hard to get that one to sound right.

I'd go song by song explaining how we played them but I guess I'd bore you out haha.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
I am a relative beginner and the joy ou speak of is just from playing songs that are not too challenging because you know them (consciously or not) from hearing them on the radio and everywhere else you go. I experience this every once in a while and it really is a blast.

Jealous of your gig.
 

DrummerBoy95

Senior Member
I am a relative beginner and the joy ou speak of is just from playing songs that are not too challenging because you know them (consciously or not) from hearing them on the radio and everywhere else you go. I experience this every once in a while and it really is a blast.

Jealous of your gig.
It's strange, sometimes I feel I'm going to play a great gig, but it ends up being not so good after all, but this time I really felt it was going to be bad or just plain boring, but it was actually pretty fun. :)
It'd been a while since I'd had such a fun gig, it makes me want to play more gigs now!
 
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